Happy New Year! How many of you have made a list of resolutions or intentions to kick off the start of the year? In 2017, NBC News reported that iQuanti a data-driven marketing company compiled a list of the most Google-searched resolutions for the New Year. At the top of the list was “Get Healthy.” Not surprising, the top resolution for 2018: eat better and exercise more.
While we all may have the best of intentions, many of us fall off the wagon early in the year. Making a plan or checklist now can keep us all on track in obtaining our goal of getting or staying healthy.
Some may believe that “Getting healthy” simply means eating better and exercising more. However, getting or being healthy includes much more. Preventive care, a proactive approach to staying or getting to our best can keep us all healthy in the New Year.
Making a checklist is the most efficient way to set up all the appointments and preventive health screenings. I like to make a list of physicians with specialty, address, phone number and space for the date of the last appointment and a space for the next appointment to keep track of scheduling. Below is a checklist of reminders. Keep in mind that theses are guidelines; consult your physician for individualized guidance.
1. PCP-Primary Care Physician: Schedule an annual wellness appointment. Your physician will inform you if you need additional appointments for follow up for health concerns.
2. Yearly eye exam if recommended by your ophthalmologist if you have been told you have cataracts do not wait until your vision jeopardizes your safety before scheduling surgery for removal!
3. Schedule a hearing test if you or those around you are noticing difficulties hearing conversations. Hearing loss can severely isolate you and affect quality of life and cognition.
4. Annual Gynecology exam for women. Discuss with your doctor recommendations for PAP testing and mammogram. Regular monthly breast exams — add them to your calendar!
5. Males: Discuss prostate screening based on your risk factors with your doctor.
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6. Colon cancer screening beginning at age 50 (unless you have risk factors; then your physician may recommend at earlier age). Note: there is an alarming increase in colon cancer in those under 50; do not ignore unusual symptoms.
7. Additional Screening tests as recommended by the CDC: Cholesterol screening every five years beginning at age 35, HIV/AIDS check between ages 15-65, hepatitis C, check in adults born between 1945 and 1965.
8. Immunizations: Yearly flu shot: it’s not too late! Update Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis every 10 years
9. Shingles (Zoster) vaccine at age 60, Pneumonia 2 vaccines now recommended one year apart beginning at age 65.
10. Clean out the medicine cabinet! Get rid of all those “I might need this someday” medications sitting around the cabinets, bathroom sink, kitchen counters or anywhere old medications may be lurking!
In addition to preventive screenings and an annual wellness appointment it’s a great time to make a list of ways you can take steps toward a healthier you. It doesn’t have to be the drastic resolution to lose X amount of pounds or an elaborate exercise plan. Setting realistic goals and expectations is often the best strategy for success. Eating less sugar for example as opposed to “no sweets,” exercising daily may mean walking for 10 minutes to begin with incremental increases. Here are a few additional recommendations to make this year a productive, healthy and safe year:
- Kick the Habit: The single risk factor that can be controlled that leads to multiple health risks is smoking. Cessation programs are available. It’s not too late!!
- Eat Mindfully. Add fish to your diet and be mindful of meat consumption. Everything in moderation. Pay attention to portion control as opposed to total sacrifice!
- Drink more water. Water keeps us hydrated for better overall health, our brains depend on it.
- Safety. Move those rugs. You know the ones that slide around without non-skid backing. Make sure the lighting is working throughout the house and in stairways — and use them. Poor lighting contributes to falls.
- Check your smoke detectors. If over 10 years old, replace. It’s a new law.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This phrase still holds true today perhaps even more so than ever. Focusing on health does not have to be the dreaded resolution rather a fresh start to a better you!